Storm coach laments costly mistakes

Eaglehawk's Riley Saunders gets a kick away despite the attention of Harry Conway and Lachlan Bonney. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
Eaglehawk's Riley Saunders gets a kick away despite the attention of Harry Conway and Lachlan Bonney. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Sam Heavyside’s missed set shot from 15m out in the dying seconds was just one of many mistakes to cost Strathfieldsaye in the second semi-final, according to coach Darryl Wilson.

Heavyside had a set shot from 15m out in front of goal inside the final two minutes of the game to put the Storm in front of Eaglehawk on Saturday night.

Heavyside’s kick slammed into the left goal post and the Hawks clung on to win 14.13 (97) to 14.10 (94).

The Borough advances to its first grand final appearance since 2011, while the Storm play Golden Square in next Saturday’s preliminary final.

“Our inside 50 hits were terrible and you can’t win big games if you’re not hitting your targets,’’ Wilson said.

“Yes. We didn’t make the most of our chances, but our kicking inside 50 was poor and our clearance work wasn’t up to standard.

“Full credit to Eaglehawk because they were in front at the right time, but I thought we made some crucial mistakes and it cost us.

“We were gutsy, it was a contested game and the boys had a crack… you can’t knock them for any of that.

“Basic turnovers and kicking inside 50 hurt us.”

The turning point of the game was a five-minute period late in the second quarter when Eaglehawk rallied from a 30-point deficit to cut the margin to five points at the main break.

After being beaten through the midfield for the first 20 minutes of the second term, the Hawks took control and Riley Saunders and Ben McPhee kicked two goals each to ignite the Borough.

“The stoppage work when we had control of the game really hurt us,’’ Wilson lamented.

“We were 30 points in front and then lost the next five stoppages. That hurts when you’re playing against quality teams and they made us pay.”

The second half was a goal-for-goal battle.

The Hawks started strongly and grabbed an eight-point. It should have been 14 points, but McPhee inexplicably played on after marking five metres out from goal. He handballed to Gedd Hommelhoff whose kick was smothered through for a behind.

One minute later, Storm co-captain Shannon Geary bounced a goal home from 50m out and the Hawks lead was just three points.

A 50m penalty against Brodie Collins handed Trent Donnan an easy goal and the Storm regained the lead.

In similar fashion to the Hawks seven minutes earlier, the Storm should have taken a double-digit lead into the last term, but a brain fade in the goal square cost them a goal.

Jake Hall played on after taking a mark in the goal square and handballed to Matt Harvey. His kick was under pressure and was blocked on the goal line by the Borough.

The Storm’s four-point lead at the start of the final quarter didn’t last long.

The Borough completely dominated the first five minutes of the quarter, but only managed 1.3. The goal coming from the boot of Sean Williams.

Defender Fergus Payne bobbed up to regain the lead for the Storm, but by the 12 minute-mark of the final quarter the scores were level.

Hommelhoff weaved his way through traffic and found Williams for his second goal of the term to give the Hawks a six-point lead.

Hall had a chance to tie things up for the Storm, but his set shot from 30m went wide.

At the 17-minute mark, the Hawks broke through the Storm zone and Scott Harper’s handball found Williams on his own inside 50. He ran into an open goal to kick his fifth major for the half and give the Hawks an 11-point buffer.

The Storm kept coming. Harvey missed a set shot from 40m out to make it 10 points before the dynamic Lachlan Sharp kicked his sixth goal of the night via a brilliant snap from the boundary line.

The Storm pressed again and a quick kick out of a pack landed in Heavyside’s arms 15m out in front of goal.

The midfield star couldn’t make the most of the opportunity and the Hawks prevailed.